Poland bans Ukrainian food imports as excess cripples Polish farmers income

polish farmers protest Ukraine food imports

In an effort to quell the growing outrage of Polish farmers, who claim they are losing a tons of money as a result of an oversupply of Ukrainian grain on the market, the Polish government announced it will temporarily prohibit grain and other food imports from Ukraine.

Jaroslaw Kaczyski, the head of the governing party in Poland, said despite Poland’s support for Ukraine, it was compelled to take action to defend its farmers as the Polish countryside is currently experiencing a “moment of crisis.”

“Today, the government has decided on a regulation that prohibits the importation of grain, but also dozens of other types of food, to Poland,” Kaczyński told a party convention in eastern Poland on Saturday.

The government declared that the import restrictions will be in place until June 30. Imports of sugar, eggs, meat, milk, other dairy products, fruits, and vegetables are also banned under the regulation.

The Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine expressed “regret” at the Polish government’s choice.

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“Polish farmers are facing a difficult situation, but we emphasise that Ukrainian farmers are facing the most difficult situation”, it said.

The ministry suggested that the two nations reach a fresh, amicable arrangement in the upcoming days.

Farmers in nearby countries have also expressed concern over Ukrainian grain entering surrounding countries, generating a surplus that has down prices and forced them to suffer significant losses.

“The increasing imports of agricultural products from Ukraine cause serious disturbances in the markets of our countries, great damage to producers and social unrest,” the Polish agriculture minister, Robert Telus, told his counterparts from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary this week. All are members of the European Union and he said the bloc should take urgent action on the matter.

“We cannot accept a situation where the entire burden of dealing with increased imports rests mainly with farmers from our countries,” Telus said.

Russia’s conflict with Ukraine is to blame for the current scenario. The European Union removed tariffs on Ukrainian grain to ease its transportation to Africa and the Middle East after Moscow blocked conventional export sea routes.